East Hastings Street tent city still there as deadline to clear it passes – BC

Vancouver’s mayor says the city is working to find indoor space for those living in a tent city on the Downtown Eastside, but he acknowledges there will not be enough housing for everyone.

“We are not confident we have enough space for everyone there but we have found spaces for a number of people,” Mayor Kennedy Stewart said. “There are a number of people on Hastings Street that already have housing but they are on the street because it is so hot.”

Vancouver Fire Chief Karen Fry issued an order this week to clear a growing tent city on the 100 block of East Hastings Street due to the “significant fire safety risk” in the area.

The deadline was Wednesday but no removals have been made as of Friday afternoon.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver Fire doubles down on East Hastings tent removal'

Vancouver Fire doubles down on East Hastings tent removal

Vancouver Fire doubles down on East Hastings tent removal

City of Vancouver staff say they are handing out notices and hanging posters to make everyone aware of the order and that the removal process will happen in stages.

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Stewart said the issue is extremely challenging due to the recent hot weather.

“I was in an SRO two weeks ago and when you’re approaching 30 to 25 degrees, they are so hot, you are gonna see the population on the street expand just like you are everywhere else around the city,” Stewart said.

Read more:

Vancouver DTES tent city to be cleared by Wednesday, but residents say there’s nowhere to go

Tents and other temporary structures have long been a fixture of East Hastings Street, but a number of permanent tents and the scale of the encampment have grown rapidly since the start of July.

That’s when Vancouver police ceased supporting city engineering workers conducting daily so-called “street sweeps,” the controversial practice the city says is necessary to clean up trash and discarded items, but which some neighbourhood advocates say involves targeting the homeless and taking their belongings.

Since then, some neighbourhood residents have complained about difficulty accessing their buildings or even travelling down the sidewalk.

Daytime storage of personal items, more public washrooms, misting stations and handwashing and drinking fountains are among the supports the city says it will offer.

— with files from Simon Little

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